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Cassie Draws the Universe
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Cassie Draws the Universe

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  77 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Cassie Harper is a disillusioned high school senior who is daily losing ground in a battle against her own nihilistic inclinations. When a beautiful new girl from California comes to town and attempts to befriend a reluctant Cassie, the two unlikely companions find common ground in a shared sorrow.

Cassie lives with her mother and grandmother in a dilapidated house in a nam
Paperback, 427 pages
Published August 23rd 2010
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I'm not going to lie, I had a hard time getting through this book. Of the things that bothered me the biggest were:

- The use of the analogy "splayed like a bullfrog awaiting dissection" used within 5 pages of each other, in one instance referring to masturbation and in the other describing a notebook being open. The analogy itself is a strong one, but to use it within such close proximity (neglecting the fact that I think a metaphor as such be used only once) seemed to be an oversight. It may se
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A dark and complex mix of Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, and Sylvia Plath, with a touch of Pynchon, and maybe even some Nabokov. It bogged down a bit in the middle, but once the author put her pieces in place, I could not put the book down. This is an intellectually challenging book, full of allusions, allegory, extended metaphor, word-play, etc., but it's also emotionally gripping because the characters are crafted so well.
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another First Reads win!

P.S. Baber has created a remarkable work with Cassie Draws the Universe. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. Baber's book is a tragedy from which I couldn't turn away. Complex, haunting, disturbing, intellectually challenging and often shocking and dark, this is an intense but well-crafted story with believable characters, multiple layers, myriad allusions and thought-provoking themes. Though I have finished reading the book, my mind is not ready to move on to the ne
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I won this book on Goodreads First-Reads and I am so glad that I did!

The cover is unusual but very striking. After a few chapters I was totally hooked onto this book and could not bear to put it down. The story was interuging and the relationship between Cassie and Amy was special and the conversations which they shared very unusual and interesting. When Mr Cole was first introduced I really liked him but his huge flaw overtook this side of him and he became so cruel.
I would never have guessed
Beth Peninger
Jan 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
If there was an option for half stars I may have given Baber 1.5 stars for effort. I think it's always risky to write fiction and this novel proves that Baber's risk was a failure on several levels. Would I be able to have a conversation with her I would ask the following:
1) Who the heck edited your book? If you paid them demand your money back! The editing in this book was horrible. Worse than horrible actually.
2) Were you trying to work every word in the Thesarus into the first 100 or so page
Linda Rollins
Aug 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
I’m sorry to say that I really struggled to get anything out of this book. Having read through the first quarter of the book, I still didn’t know what it was supposed to be about; it seemed to have little direction or, indeed, point. I think it is simply a story about a girl with psychological issues – I think!

The writing, to be fair, in places was beautifully prosaic which, sadly, was in sharp contrast to the rest of the book and to the story itself. I found the intimate and highly sexualised d
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
My first First Reads win!

I have to write a review, right now, five minutes after finishing the book, because it will never let me go otherwise. Even so, it will probably refuse to let me go for a while yet. This book is powerful. This book will stay with you. This book holds onto you, so much so that you don't feel like you're holding onto it, physically. The book is not in your hands. You are in the book's hands.

It is a compelling read. From the very beginning, it promises darkness ahead. There
Mike  Davis
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Gritty with a few scattered adult themes, I found this book very interesting and certainly worthy of group discussion. The main character is a brilliant yet struggling female high school senior, a loner, who becomes involved in a friendship triangle as she struggles to cope with her future. The main character, occasionally through illusions of fantasy or exaggeration, deals with many of life's major issues in passing, never quite resolving them. There are occasional questions of continuity, yet ...more
Dec 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this book, so far, is a lot like stumbling around in a mad man's fun house.

When I bought the ticket (got the book), I'm pretty sure I was smiling ~ excited even.
Then, upon stepping into the fun house, I'm peaking into each mirror and....I'm not sure if I understand what I see. The walls are lopsided, the mirrors are distorted. I'm sure there's a message here, I'm wondering when I finally pop out the end ~ if I'm going to understand the message or simply feel dazed after experiencing some
Krizia Anna
Feb 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ps-baber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very intense and complex book, addressing serious themes. Stylistically, substantively, and philosophically convention-defying. A highly imaginative plot with A LOT of twists that most readers will never see coming. There's a lot going on under the surface here; definitely worthy of multiple reads.
Mar 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
Wow. This book was SO much different than the books I've been reading lately, and it was a good change. Cassie Draws the Universe was amazing!

The book starts off with a prologue that forshadows death, so I was constantly wondering who was going to die. There were a lot of twists and exciting parts throughout this book that will keep you guessing til the end.
J.C. Hart
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is brutal. Brutally good. Raw, rich, and unexpected. I wasn't sure what to think going in, having read some of the reviews for it, but from the opening, I was captivated, wanting to know what happened in order to get to the place where the book starts (9 months from now).

This is most definitely not a young adult novel, I never thought it was, but apparently YA has taken over the world so much that some people assume if the main character is a teen, then it must be YA. It was actually r
Oct 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
originally appeared on:Bookshelf Confessions

*i won this book form member giveaways program*

this is a thought-provoking book and definitely recommended for young adult readers too.
the story is simple yet unique in its own way.the author manages to unfold a wonderful and engaging story from simple teen dramas..the dialogues presented are well-thought and heavy with understanding and deeper meanings..the story is well-written and the characters are outstanding..depicting human nature, especially te
Oct 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sally by: P.S.
I was lucky enough to win this book in a giveaway! :D

It's really hard to shelve because it's not generic at all... wow, what a read, what a crazy, fucked up read! I loved it. I didn't find Cassie very likeable, but she was interesting - I especially enjoyed the parts set in her school, her classes. I really enjoyed her friendship with Amy as well... yes, I admit because they were kind of slashy at times. But it was also just really refreshing to have two high-school girls being friends and being
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Cassie Draws the Universe is one of the hardest books I have ever read. I don't mean that I didn't like it; in fact, quite the opposite, once I started, I couldn't put it down for very long and finished it in one afternoon. No, by hard I mean it is the kind of book that makes you stop and think - it is dark and gritty and very, very heart-rending. At many places in the story, I had to put it down, get a cup of tea, and try to absorb what I just read. More than once, I thought 'I can't finish thi ...more
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
UGHAHFKAJDNFE! fuuuuuuuu&%

i just wrote a friggin long ass review for this book which i finally finished but i accidentally removed it from my books instead of changing shelves. so mad right now i want to cry :(.

just no.

i won this as a goodreads first reads giveaway so i have to review it.

i can't really summarize everything i had in my review but for now i'll just say i thought it was awful. then it got better.

maybe someday i'll rewrite my review :(

i really didn't like cassie as a person. f
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book I like to read. To say it is interesting doesn't do it justice. Interesting is too dull, and too much of an overused word to describe this book. I could say it is unique, or one of a kind, but yet again, I feel like those words aren't quite right in describing this book because of how much those words can be thrown around. This book lived and breathed. It was born and it died. Nothing was written by accident. I believe there was a lot of thought put into this book.

It too
Iris Blobel
Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a goodreads giveaway. When I read the back of the cover and all the reviews I entered the giveaway and hoped to win it.
Rating this book was very difficult, it was very dark and full of metaphors. The story was not my cup of tea and with that I am not implying that it's not a good book, but just not for me. Personally I thought the story dragged on for at least half the book -we get introduced to Cassie and her new friend Amy; two young women who couldn't be more different, but build a b
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This book takes place in Kansas, my home state, and immediately paints an extremely bleak and depressing picture of the landscape and the people, so we didn't get off to a very friendly start. However the more I read the better I felt about the story. Cassie, the main character, is an intelligent and thoughtful girl at an emotional cross roads, and I became rather invested in her story. I really enjoyed the excerpts from her notebook, and the poetry was beautiful. The writing was well done and e ...more
Debbie Roberts
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm very pleased to learn that I've won a copy of Cassie Draws the Universe.
I wanted to win this one, especially after reading some reviews here at Goodreads!

P.S. Baber shipped my copy quickly and I started reading it this morning.

Absorbing and completely unpredictable!
I loved it, not only because of how well it was written, but because I honestly didn't see the end coming. One thing I enjoy most about a good book is not being able to figure out early on how it will play out.

I also enjoyed the p
Beth Anne
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

i had to think about this book for a while before i reviewed it. i loved's lingered in my mind since i finished the last few words.

it starts off a simple story of an angst filled teenager who is pretty much friendless, a loner, a writer....and that part of the novel alone is awesome. i was devouring the story of cassie...i loved her stories and poetry....i loved the way she viewed the world she lived in.

then the second and third parts of the book happened. and my world was turned
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book definitely has its flaws but I liked that it was very raw. It gives you a little bit of philosophy: nihilism vs. the absolute while at the same time it juxtaposes harsh everyday realities and the more prototypical good vs. evil paradigms with Cassie's created safe space. On the whole, it was a quick and easy to read although much of the subject matter was emotionally troublesome.

Baber does an excellent job of provoking the reader to evaluate specific thoughts and questions. Cassie's qu
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Cheney by: Tasha
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
I just don't know where to begin... Great writing, beautiful writing but such a dark, dark, dark story that I wouldn't recommend it to someone without the warning of: nothing good happens to the girl that so deserves something good to happen. This story will darken your soul. Baber reminds me of Wallie Lamb. Jeez! Poor Cassie. She is so witty, so amazingly smart, you can't wait for her to get an opportunity to thrive, but all the opportunities that she could have are all ripped away from her and ...more
Jennifer Cain
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway-wins
This title was a Goodreads - Firstreads win.

As a mother of three teenagers, I was a little hesitant to begin this book. I was worried I would experience teenage whining and petty drama overload. None of that happened. In fact, I found "Cassie Draws the Universe" to be refreshingly intellectual. Completely not what I was expecting. Loved the IRONY!!

I would mention that although the main characters are teenagers, this is a very adult title. The themes and language are quite mature and may not be
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I thought that this such an amazing book, that it inspires me to write something just as good!!! At first it was a little "iffy", but the farther I got, the better it seemed to get. I hope I will be able to read another book from First Reads soon. I'm sure I will be able to read it twice as fast. Thank you!! It starts out with such an unusual character that keeps to herself and let's everyone no that she is to be left alone. But then it suddenly changes when a new girl comes. I just love it when ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I took a day before I wrote this review to see if thinking it over would give me more prospective on it. That didn't help. This book definitely isn't for YA it is an adult book and it is dark. I enjoyed reading it but it is written in a way to keep one guessing as to exactly what Cassie is. Is she mentally ill or something else? Maybe psychic or so smart that she can't handle life in a normal way. I would recommend this to other adults that enjoy a book that you have to make your own assumptions ...more
Jan 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I am really confused about this book - it was horrific but necessary. I have to think a while longer to really digest its message and the impact it has on me. The whole premise is so real but the outcome is like a bad fairy tale. I watched this movie this weekend called Lovely Molly and it was awful and violent and painful but I had to see how it ended. Cassie Draws the Universe is like that too. I want to forget it but I know it will stay with me for longer than it should.
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this in a First Reads giveaway!! Am really excited to read this!

Stayed up late to power read then woke up early to finish it.
Wow!!! I don' t know how to feel about Cassie. On one hand, I feel bad for her, on the other I feel somewhat repulsed by her. Repulsed may be too strong a word. More distrustful, maybe. Issues!!! I don't want to say too much without giving anything away. Great book!!
Sep 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
I thought the beginning of this book developed nicely, and the prologue set the stage and set me on edge for the rest of the book. Though I was expecting a turn based on the prologue & metalogue, the turn was ultimately so drastic and so untenable that I found the latter half wanting a bit. So much happened that it just suddenly became unbelievable, and I quickly lost the connection to the story.
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P.S. Baber is the author of Cassie Draws the Universe.

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“The stage is a magic circle where only the most real things happen, a neutral territory outside the jurisdiction of Fate where stars may be crossed with impunity. A truer and more real place does not exist in all the universe.” 95 likes
“There are four kinds of people in the world, Ms. Harper. Those who build walls. Those who protect walls. Those who breach walls. And those who tear down walls. Much of life is discovering who you are. When you find out, you also realize there are places you can no longer go, things you can no longer do, words you can no longer say.” 58 likes
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